Getting the right medical insurance as an expat

12:08PM 09/11/2012

Getting the right medical insurance as an expat

Once you have made the move away from the UK and set up home in a dream destination, it doesn't mean you're travelling days are over. When you're preparing to jet off on a holiday, whether that be a trip back to the UK, or somewhere else, you will want to ensure you have the right sort of travel insurance. However, it can be difficult to secure travel insurance as an expat because different countries have different rules.

The language barrier

One of the difficulties when it comes to securing travel insurance is overcoming the language barrier in other countries. When there are numerous official documents with complicated language to get through, signing off on a policy in a different language can be a tricky experience, and even leave you out of pocket. Unless you have a very good grasp of the language, it is unlikely that you will be able to get as good a policy as you would if working in English. No matter where you are in the world, Staysure offers insurance policies with all documents in English. This takes the daunting process of wading through official policies in another language away, and ensures you secure cover that is tailored to you.

Repatriation

If you are visiting the UK, you are entitled to medical treatment on the NHS meaning that if you fall ill while in the country you will not have to worry about rocketing medical bills. That said, in other countries, if a pre-existing condition flares up, you might not be so lucky and sky-high medical costs could leave you out of pocket.

However, one element that you will need to make sure of wherever you travel, either to the UK or elsewhere is repatriation. While the NHS will cover your medical bills in the UK, it will not provide you with costs should you need to urgently get back to your home country, due to health problems or any other reason.

Think about what you would want if you were in the UK

Whether you're an expat or not you tend to want the same sort of things from your travel insurance. When trying to work out what features to get on a policy, you just need to think about what you would opt for if you were back in the UK.

Do not be distracted by the fact that you're an expat - simply think about what level of cover and which add-ons you will need for your trip.

Becoming an expat

We spoke to Graeme Trudgill, head of corporate affairs at the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), who explained about the type of insurance you need when becoming an expat.

He said: "If you are becoming an expat and you are no longer a UK resident and you are buying a property and living then really you need a different kind of insurance. Maybe you are working abroad, maybe you have been sent abroad for six months in which case you have got to think about where you want to be repatriated to - if you are working abroad do you want to be repatriated to the UK if something happens or do you want to go back to your base in Switzerland say if you have been seconded to Switzerland.

"So the main thing that expats need for their insurance is the medical cover. You can arrange for that here or you can arrange for that locally but a normal travel insurance policy if you are not resident in the UK isn't suitable because it is not really a holiday, you are not really travelling if you live out there. It depends on your circumstances if it is just a second home and you are going out for the summer in the UK market a normal travel policy can be extended. If it a case of no actually you are really living out there and you're car has Spanish number plates on then you would need to get a specific expat policy for that."

Once you have made the move away from the UK and set up home in a dream destination, it doesn't mean you're travelling days are over. When you're preparing to jet off on a holiday, whether that be a trip back to the UK, or somewhere else, you will want to ensure you have the right sort of travel insurance. However, it can be difficult to secure travel insurance as an expat because different countries have different rules.

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